We all have favorite films that we never get tired of re-watching. I make sure that the DVDs of these films, or dramas–original only please–are in my collection. And one of my all-time favorites is THE CLASSIC (2003) that stars Son Ye-jin, Cho Seung-woo and Jo In-sung.
Thanks to THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS, I watched it again although I must admit I skipped to the “present day” parts. If you’re watching the film the first time, of course, it’s a must to watch it in its entirety and not skip parts because one cannot appreciate the modern love story without juxtaposing it with the “classic” love story.
Of course, the reason why I re-watched it for the nth time is because of Jo In-sung, who looks so young and quite chubby cheeks here. My favorite part will always be the rain scene.
I love how the storytelling of THE CLASSIC was done. It’s not the constant switching of the present to the past without getting lost in the narrative, but it was how layers upon layers of the story were gradually revealed.
In this scene, we see Ji-hye taking refuge from the rain under a tree in the campus. This is after she had vowed not to see Sang-min again after it became apparent that he likes her best friend. And then guess who is about to take shelter under that same tree: the guy she secretly likes but knows she can’t see anymore. He looked surprised seeing her there and when she told him she’s going to the library, which is quite far, he offers to take her there under his coat. So they run from building to building with his coat as umbrella until they get to the library.
The scene was bittersweet. She likes him but that card she found in the gift seemed to tell her that he likes the best friend. And yet she can’t stop liking him especially when he’s being sweet. (And of course, he’s Jo In-sung.)
Then a few scenes later, Ji-hye is at the canteen and the lady tells her about a “special umbrella”. It turns out that day it suddenly rained, Sang-min was drinking coffee there while looking out of the window. Then suddenly, he asked the canteen ajumma if she brought an umbrella that day. When she said she didn’t, he smiled happily and said she could have his umbrella before running out into the rain. The realization strikes Ji-hye so poignantly and it sends her running into another rain clutching the umbrella that she then returns to Sang-min.
Just beautiful and so poetic. I still cry every time I watch it.
This film is so different from current films that tell it to your face without any art of seduction. Throughout the film, we only know the love story of Ji-hye’s parents, but it’s only in the very last part that a major twist is revealed, and it gives depth to the entire film that you want to re-watch it again knowing what you know now. And yet, the reveal at the end never gets old.
The film was written and directed by Kwak Jae-Young, who also directed WINDSTRUCK and MY SASSY GIRL, among others. I’d give his other films a try, like CYBORG SHE.
This post is ranked WHITE. With ice please, because Jo In-sung is so hot.
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